What can you tell us about how “HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!” began?
I am a terrible person who enjoys schadenfreude pie more than almost anyone else I know. People say that the internet runs on cats or porn, but I feel this is inaccurate. Beneath the layers of pornography, cats, and pornographic cats, the internet really runs on schadenfreude. This story came from reading the now-defunct Regretsy site and browsing spectacular crowdfunding failures for far too many hours. I also felt like crowdfunding has been ubiquitous for the past three years and wanted to poke at it a little bit.
At what point did the story gain momentum—like, at what point, did it turn into a story?
I had a “finished” draft of the story about a year ago, but I don’t think that it actually turned into a story until thirty minutes before my reading at Norwescon this year. I had been planning to read from my novel, but realized that I wasn’t happy with the excerpt I’d chosen. I decided that it’d be easier to fill twenty to twenty-five minutes with a few stories in the 500-1500 word range than cut a coherent 4000 words out of the novel draft. When I was giving the story a quick re-read, I realized that the ending sucked, so I added a couple more updates. Prior to that, it wasn’t really a story because it had no narrative arc. I kind of shoved the readers off a cliff at the end. One of the nice things about reading to an audience before sending this out for publication was that I had a good idea of which punch lines actually played well, and which ones needed tweaking.
What sort of evil geniuses inspired your Evil Genius Narrator?
I’m not sure. The only mad scientist that comes to mind when I think about “things that might have actually inspired me” is Dr. Frederick Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein. I don’t remember watching it much as a kid, but my parents used to hum the violin theme at me when I was a baby because it would make me cry, which was hilarious. That’s probably over-analyzing it, though. I suspect I just decided it was my turn to dip into that particular mossy, slug-lined well of tropes.
Why use this format?
It made me laugh!
What’s next for you?
I have a short story due to come out in Apex later this year, and I will have a story in the Alliteration Ink collection, What Fates Impose, sometime soon. Other than that, who knows?
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